Dover UCC honors church members for volunteerism
When was the last time your church thanked you for all that you do to carry God’s message out to the community? Well, Dover Congregational United Church of Christ in Westlake did just that on Sunday, May 19.
The event was named “Church + (Plus)” and over 140 members of the church were treated to a catered dinner, along with live entertainment, speakers and even a maître de. The purpose of the dinner was to recognize that fact that not only does church happen on Sundays, but members continue the Lord’s mission every day.
The plan for the evening was put together by Martha Vivona, the Lay Leader at Dover UCC, along with Lyn Koehler and Cynthia Stuart. The dinner guests were served by members of the church council. There were three huge poster boards on easels with names of church members and the activities they are engaged in to help the Dover UCC church community and the community at large.
The activities ranged from monthly Street Ministry to a student justice forum on gun violence. From coordinating memorial lunches to making and delivering cookies to The Lutheran Home. From inviting the children to the front of the church for the weekly "Children’s Message" to those who give of their time to be readers at a service. The poster boards were divided by aspects of the mission statement of Dover UCC, which is: “Seek Justice, Love Kindness and Walk Humbly with Your God” – Micah 6:8.
The guests waited in the lobby of the church while final preparations were made. Once everything was ready, the guests were treated to candlelight, full table settings, centerpieces, cloth tablecloths and all – fancy party. Before they gathered in Thomas Hall, the maître de, John Rinehart, was soliciting “tips” from the congregation. John is the Minister of Justice at Dover and the “tips” – all $200, will go to the missions committee at the church.
Some longtime members shared what the church has meant to them. One of the most moving messages was from Liz Emmer. She shared that the Carole King song "Tapestry" had been running through her head ever since she was asked to speak at the dinner. “I like the idea of my life being a tapestry of many threads,” she stated. “As the threads come together, the vision and the view are constantly changing. In order to make a tapestry, you must have a loom – something to support the work while it is being made. That loom, that framework, is my church,” she stated.
Mrs. Emmer concluded, “I come to gather with you, in all the joys and sorrows and challenges of life. I come here so that the threads of my tapestry can be interwoven with your threads, making the finished work even stronger and more powerful than if it was me alone. You, my church, bless me with your presence in my life.”
Dover Congregational United Church of Christ is full of people who truly try to follow its mission statement – after all, "God is still speaking."
Kathleen Poe--former teacher who currently resides in Westlake